Relationships in the lives of Israeli women coping with drug addiction: An ecosystemic perspective

Michal Itzick, Jenya Neomi Segal, Chaya Possick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This qualitative study explores the experience of relationships in the lives of Israeli women coping with drug addiction, following detoxification. The theoretical foundation of the study is the relational theory of women and drug addiction. The aim of the current study is to use an integrated, ecosystemic framework that contextualizes the women’s experiences in relationships. The study is designed according to interpretative phenomenological analysis. The research includes in-depth, loosely structured interviews with 12 women coping with drug addiction, aged 20–33, who have been free of drugs at least 1 year. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by coding meaning units, forming categories, and developing four focal themes: (1) preoccupation with achieving security in relationships with significant others: parents and partners; (2) loneliness and fear resulting from traumatic experiences; (3) the road to recovery as an experience of repeated caring contact by drug rehabilitation staff; and (4) gendered social and cultural stigma by society at large as experienced in relationships with “helping” professionals. The discussion demonstrates how the experiences of women coping with drug addiction who are free of drugs can be divided into three levels, based on the ecosystemic perspective: the internal microsystem of the self, the external mesosystem of relationships with others, and the macrosystem of self and society. Implications for policy practice with women coping with drug addiction are presented based on the gender-mainstreaming approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-760
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Drug addiction
  • drug addiction and trauma
  • ecosystemic perspective
  • relationships and drug addiction
  • women
  • women and drug addiction
  • women and drug rehabilitation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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